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Today’s News - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

•   Kimmelman gets a first-hand look at Rio's struggle to re-invent itself: "cable cars and cultural attractions...make good illustrations for Olympic brochures - even if they aren't necessarily what residents need most. Winning community support takes time. Rio is in a hurry" (a fab read!).

•   Horton takes issue with a global culture "saturated with the trope and sculptural drama of the high-rise while the real problems remain down on the street. Tallness should be judged in accordance with how it influences culture on the ground."

•   Hawthorne cheers the return of Gehry and his revised vision for L.A.'s Grand Avenue that is "simpler and more efficient" than his original with an "energetic and unfussy aesthetic" - now it's up to city and county officials whether it will come to be.

•   Hume x 2: he fears the "usual planner piffle" by Toronto's "poor, timid souls" could put the kibosh on the Mirvish/Gehry triple-tower plan for King Street that would be "one of the few examples of great architecture in this city of built-form mediocrity."

•   He sees many lessons for Toronto in Boston's Big Dig: even though it didn't "go far enough, few are looking back" - it "introduced an element of civility to their city that wouldn't have been possible before."

•   Moore dons a hard hat and takes us on a marvelous journey through Crossrail tunnels, "Britain's biggest archaeological dig" that is "an urban and a cultural event" below- and above-ground (massive tunnel-boring machines named for Queens included - a must-read!).

•   Gormley (the sculptor) makes the case for why "bulldozing Southbank Centre would be better than the planned revamp - it is not of high architectural quality. The true choice is either to demolish the existing buildings to make way for something better," or respect what's there with "sensitive improvement."

•   Davidson cheers Williams and Tsien's "stealth architecture" in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and WORKac's Edible Schoolyard that "ekes out every bit of light and elegance from a spare budget and a tight space."

•   Lamster finds the Kimbell's Piano Pavilion to be "deferential to a fault" - it is "a polite but not particularly engaged companion to the hallowed" Kahn museum: "Indeed, the two buildings hardly speak to each other."

•   Gallagher reports that downtown Detroit has high hopes for some SHoP magic to come to the former Hudson's Department Store site.

•   Thom is tapped by the University of Chicago to design a new center in Hong Kong on a heritage site "that requires sensitivity to the area's cultural past" (no images yet).

•   North Philly gets a mixed-income, mixed-use transit-oriented development by WRT that "demonstrates that green design is for everyone" (LEED ND Platinum, no less!).

•   A new British study "reveals what affects the productivity of employees in architecture practices - and the results ain't pretty."

•   Pedersen pays tribute to architecture patron Peter B. Lewis: patrons' "gifts come with string attached. But sometimes, when the patron and architect click, when a Peter Lewis meets a Frank Gehry, history is made" (link to Litt's extended obit).

•   One we couldn't resist: Goldberger gives us an (amusing) insider's take on the Bono/Ives/Newson star-studded design auction to benefit Project (RED) (a set of Apple ear buds brought $380,000; the piano reached a cool $1.6 million!).

•   Call for entries: AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Green Projects + COTE Top Ten Plus Award.


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